HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has recently announced that its fully online divorce application process is being piloted across England and Wales for the first time.
The Government hopes that the online system will make the process less stressful for users during an already difficult time, as well as decreasing the amount of time some people spend on the dissolution of their marriage, allowing them to focus on getting their lives back on track.
The scheme was initially piloted last year, allowing users to apply online for a divorce. The system offered guidance in completing the application form, whilst also enabling users to print off the documents and send to the appropriate court.
HMCTS has since further extended the service to include submitting forms online so that the process is now fully digital, which enables users to send relevant documents and even allows payments to be made via their website. It is reported that, in the first week of the pilot launching, they received over 130 online applications.
The Government hopes that the system will reduce the number of applications returned due to errors and generally enabling the process to be much smoother for people at a difficult time in their lives. Since the pilot launched, there has been a 90% improvement in errors received on paper versions of the application. The process also removes the risk of the application being lost in the post, as well as the details being recorded instantly online. This pilot is part of the Government’s £1bn plans to modernise the justice system.
The pilot thus far has received positive feedback from users when compared to the current paper-based application form; the next stage of the pilot is to allow legal advisers to use the system which shall hopefully continue to streamline the divorce application process for people across England and Wales.
Pinney Talfourd welcome this change and hope it will speed up the process. Catherine Polli, Head of Family commented that “This is a very difficult time for clients and the court system is currently under immense pressure, leading to delays. Anything which can pick up the pace of divorce proceedings once issued is welcomed”.
Pinney Talfourd offers a free initial consultation where such matters relating to the dissolution of your marriage or civil partnership can be discussed with your solicitor. Please contact our Family Law department on 01708 229444 or email us using the form to the right to arrange a free initial consultation.The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of February 2018.